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Manufacturing and Materials Funding Round-Up

Posted on 10/01/2020

Find out about the latest funding calls which are relevant to the Manufacturing and Materials sectors. Last updated 11th May 2020.

To make it easier to navigate the funding landscape KTN have pulled together the latest open relevant funding calls for the manufacturing and materials sectors into one place.  Find out more details about each below, or if you wish to find out more about further funding opportunities then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Manufacturing and Materials teams.

See our Covid-19 funding round-up for all Covid-related funding calls.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Current KTP period opened on 7th May, and closes on 15th July 2020 (after this the next round will be available immediately, so don’t rush your application unnecessarily).

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)  links your organisation with one of the UK’s world-class knowledge bases (a university or research organisation) to power strategic innovation projects, embed expertise and drive commercial growth. needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Read more


Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Just like our highly effective KTP programme, Management KTPs (MKTPs) create a dynamic 3-way partnership between your company, a team of academic experts and a skilled graduate. The focus of a MKTP is specifically on increasing effectiveness and improving results through better management practices.

The first round of these has now closed – visit to be kept informed about future MKTPs.

Innovate UK Smart Grants

Competition Closes: 27.05.2020 (note extended deadline in response to Covid-19)

Smart is the new name for Innovate UK’s ‘Open grant funding’ programme. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £25 million in the best game-changing, innovative or disruptive ideas with a view to commercialisation. All proposals must be business focused. Applications can come from any area of technology (including arts, design, media or creative industries), science or engineering and be applied to any part of the economy.

Read more here.


EUREKA: Multilateral call for projects: Advanced materials

Participants are invited to submit applied research and innovation project proposals in the field of advanced materials applied to the following thematic domains.

(1) Semiconductors and Display

(2) Secondary Batteries and Sensor Technology, including

Energy Storage
(3) Carbon Industry and Chemistry, including

Lightweight Materials, Composites and Recycle of Plastics
Nano Materials and Plastic materials
(4) Machinery, Robots, and Metal Industry

Within Eureka, the call is based on mutual consent between the participating countries’ funding bodies:

South Korea (KIAT)
Austria (FFG)
Flanders (VLAIO)
Wallonia (SPW Research)
Canada (NRC IRAP)
Czech Republic (MEYS)
Denmark (IFD)
Germany (BMBF)
Hungary (NRDI Office)
Luxembourg (Ministry of Economy)
Malta (Malta Enterprise)
Spain (CDTI)
United Kingdom (Innovate UK)
Turkey (Tubitak)
Time Schedule
Opening of the Call: Jan 2020

Consortia building and Matchmaking: Korea Eureka Day (May 26th-27th 2020)

Deadline for Eureka application: 30th June 2020 (CET 18:00)

Communication of evaluation results: 23rd October 2020

Signature of the Consortia Agreements & Project Start: December 2020

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Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing

Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing is a £5.1M project to support the implementation of product and process development, and the introduction of technology to the SME manufacturing sector, in the NE LEP area. The project is part funded by ERDF (£2.6M) and the University of Sunderland, who are investing £2.5M and managing the delivery of this project. This is ongoing until December 2020.

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EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing

Call for Fundamental Research and Feasibility Studies – EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing

Closing Date: 20 May 2020

The EPSRC NetworkPlus in Digitalised Surface Manufacturing will fund up to nine Fundamental Research and Feasibility Studies: Studies may range in duration from 3 to 9 months. Of the potential nine studies to be funded, we propose to fund 4 studies up to £25k each and the remaining studies up to £5k each; each study will be funded at 80% fEC as per EPSRC guidelines and must be completed before the end of 2021. Funding through this call is not available for the purchase of equipment(s) or PhD studentships as set out within the EPSRC funding rules of the Network.

The aim of the feasibility studies is to enable cross-disciplinary research in digitalisation and surface manufacturing. Thus, to be eligible for funding a proposal must demonstrate the potential to significantly improve the technology level of a coating or coating process in relation to digitalisation. Proposals must focus on or address challenges at low Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs 1-3), again in line with EPSRC funding, although building a demonstrative prototype of such technology is also appropriate.

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Circular Economy Fund (WRAP Cymru)

This £6.5m fund will offer grants to businesses of any size seeking capital investment funding to increase their use of recycled materials in manufactured products, components or packaging. WRAP Cymru will administer the fund on behalf of the Welsh Government.

Click here to find out more (applications assessed quarterly, running until at least March 2020)

STFC Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a multidisciplinary research organisation that funds and operates a number of large science facilities offering research and development access to commercial users. Through these facilities, and their expert staff, they can provide access to advanced experimental and computational tools to address challenges and opportunities in manufacturing and materials. Their £8 million Bridging for Innovators (B4I) programme is specifically designed to help companies overcome difficult product, manufacturing or process performance issues by providing access to advanced analytical technologies, supporting expertise and capabilities through STFC’s large scale science facilities located around the UK. The competition runs until April 2021, with applications being assessed as they come in.

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Qu4lity is the biggest European project dedicated to Autonomous Qu4lity (AQ) and Zero Defect Manufacturing (ZDM) in the Industry 4.0.

Qu4lity will demonstrate, in a realistic, measurable and replicable way an open, certifiable and highly standardised, SME-friendly and transformative shared data-driven ZDM product and service model for Factory 4.0 through 14 pilot lines.

Qu4lity will also demonstrate how European industry can build unique and highly tailored ZDM strategies and competitive advantages through an orchestrated open platform ecosystem, ZDM atomized components and digital enablers across all phases of product and process lifecycle. The main goal is to build an autonomous quality model to meet the Industry 4.0 ZDM challenges.

Qu4lity has started the 1st of January of 2019 and will last 39 months.

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Made Smarter North West pilot

The Made Smarter programme is designed to support manufacturers, engineers, makers and creators with facilities or operations in Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region to grow through adoption of new technologies. The Made Smarter pilot can help you understand which new industrial technology application is right for your operations and help you to develop a strategy for implementation that fits in with your core business needs.

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Designing sustainable plastic solutions

Innovate UK are launching the new design-led Sustainability in Plastics Design competition at the start of June 2020 with a briefing webinar on 20th May. Register for the webinar here.

Your business may be eligible for this grant because it is aimed at a broad range of sectors covering Packaging, Building and Construction, Automotive Transport, Electrical and Electronics, Agriculture, Household/Leisure/Sport and Medical.

The purpose of the grant is to help your business to work with a design partner and/or inhouse design resource to stimulate innovation towards  reducing persistent plastic waste from entering the environment or going to landfill.


SUSTAIN's First Call for Feasibility Studies

Closing date: 13th July 2020

The SUSTAIN Future Steel Manufacturing Hub is initially offering funding for three feasibility studies to conduct novel research which aligns with the Hub’s two Grand Challenges: Carbon Neutral Iron and Steelmaking and Smart Steel Processing.

The SUSTAIN Future Steel Manufacturing Research Hub is looking for research projects are aligned to and compliments our current research program. We would like to attract new partners to the project with this call for applications and have potential to lead to further collaborations and future funding bids.

This first call is open to UK academics eligible to receive EPSRC funding and is our primary mechanism to introduce new academic collaborators and develop additional research spokes.

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Office of Naval Research Global Research Opportunity: Global-X Challenge

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global seeks to foster relationships with the international science community and build long-lasting partnerships worldwide. To do so, the command has launched Global-X, a nine-month international science challenge worth up to $750,000, to encourage groundbreaking research from all around the world.

ONR Global will competitively select and fund revolutionary international research projects in three challenge areas not addressed by its current basic research portfolio. Global-X is designed to stimulate new, high-risk, multidisciplinary research ideas with both military and commercial value, to solve present and future U.S. Navy and Marine Corps technology needs.

ONR Global is interested in receiving white papers and proposals on the following challenge topics:

Tailored material and manufacturing
Multifunctional maritime films for persistent and survivable platforms and warfighters
Object detection and identification in any medium (air, water, sand, earth)

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Niche Vehicle Network 2020 Collaborative R&D competition now open

Competition closes: 8th June 2020

Sponsored by Innovate UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) the Niche Vehicle Network’s (NVN‘s) Collaborative R&D competition, covering proof of concept and production readiness projects is now open for applications.

The focus of this year’s competition is on low carbon vehicle technology, with emphasis on electrification, energy efficiency and lightweight vehicle structures.

Proof of concept projects can range from £200k-£300k; production readiness projects from £300k-£500k. Up to 50% of the project costs can be covered by NVN funding.

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RISPO International Collaboration Call

Competition closes: 30th May 2020

The Managing Agency of the Endowment Fund for Education (recently known as LPDP) has recently launched the RISPRO International Collaboration (RISPRO-KI). The objective of the scheme is mainly to accelerate the national invention through international research collaboration. The transformation of collaboration outcome from “Co-authorship to Co-invention” becomes a target of this scheme.

The Indonesian Science Fund (known as DIPI) has recently been appointed as RISPRO’s delivery partner who has been responsible for the RISPRO-KI grant management which is a call for the proposal process, selection process, monitoring and evaluation. Based on this assignment, DIPI together with LPDP launched the 2020 RISPRO International Collaboration Call.

The call aims to provide grants for research in the following focus areas:

  • Health
  • Advance material or nanotechnology, and
  • Maritime

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KET4 Micro Grants

Call closes: 30th June 2020

Micro Grants are offered for transnational cooperation projects between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and minimum 2 KET technology centres (KET TCs), which aim to integrate key enabling technologies (KET) to solve clean production challenges. Focus is on upgrading production processes.

Expected duration of a micro grant project: up to 6 months
Total EU funding available for third parties: EUR 2.000.000
Maximum amount of financial support for each third party: EUR 50.000 (provided as lump sum).

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NATEP: helping SMEs innovate in aerospace, spring 2020

Competition closes: 17th June 2020

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is working with the Aerospace Technology Institute and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Up to £10 million will be invested in NATEP (National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme) for aerospace innovation projects as part of the ATI programme. In this competition we are investing up to £2.5 million.

The aim of this competition is to provide help for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to develop innovative aerospace technologies. These will enhance your capabilities and increase your ability to win new business.

This competition is the second of 4 rounds. We plan to open the others every 6 months. The last round is scheduled for spring 2021.

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May 2020 expression of interest: ATI Programme

Competition closes: 20th May 2020

The ATI Programme represents a £3.9 billion joint government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace.

This programme is co-ordinated and managed by:

the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation
the Aerospace Technology Institute
We work together to deliver a portfolio of projects to meet the objectives of the UK Aerospace Technology Strategy, ‘Accelerating Ambition’.

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Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) provides financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and that can benefit from £50,000 or less in finance.

The scheme is a part of a wider package of government support for UK businesses and employees.

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Scottish Enterprise: Research and development (R&D) grants

If your company is looking to research and develop a new product, process or service – or significantly improve an existing one – Scottish Enterprise R&D grants can offer a range of support for your project. Your project must be new and innovative – something that your company hasn’t done before. It could be something you’re working on independently or with a commercial partner, or you could be carrying out technical work as part of a collaboration.

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ISCF Transforming Foundation Industries Network Plus

UKRI will shortly be inviting proposals for an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Transforming Foundation Industries Network Plus Grant.

The UK’s Foundation Industries (comprised of Glass, Metals, Cement, Ceramics, Bulk Chemicals and Paper), produce 75% of all the materials in our economy and are vital for the UK’s manufacturing and construction industries. Together, the foundation industries are worth £52Bn to the UK economy and produce 28 million tonnes of materials per year, accounting for circa 10% of the UK total CO2 emissions.

The Network Plus will provide academic leadership across the sectors and organise networking activities such as workshops, events and communications, to build sustained engagement and collaboration. We expect the successful grant to play a strategic role in bringing together relevant participants that cross disciplinary boundaries and stakeholder groups (particularly those from business and industry).  In addition, the leadership and management team will also administer a devolved budget for small projects, encouraging applications from both within and beyond the network membership.

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UK-Canada: enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability

Closes: 20.05.20

UK businesses with Canadian business partners can apply for a share of up to £2 million, from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, for innovative projects that enhance productivity and sustainability of crop, livestock and aquaculture systems.

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Energy Catalyst Round 8

Opens: June 2020

The next round of Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst Programme is due to launch in June 2020. Up to £20 million will be available to support businesses to develop highly innovative, sustainable energy technologies and business models, which are accelerating the clean energy transition in developing and emerging economies. A particular focus is on addressing the clean energy access challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa and South/South East Asia.

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Zero Waste Scotland Circular Economy Investment Fund

The Circular Economy Investment Fund is a funding opportunity for small and medium sized businesses and organisations in Scotland working in all business and social economy sectors.  Zero Waste Scotland are investing up to £18 in grant funding for businesses;

  • Exploring markets for new circular economy products
  • Development and adoption of innovative business models for new circular economy products and services
  • Development and uptake of innovative technologies, products and services to support a circular economy

Read More (applications ongoing, 30 day turnaround, projects can run until June 2023)

Additional Covid-19 Requests (Not necessarily Funding-related)

Network Rail: Alternative designs and manufacturing techniques for Face Masks and Face Visors

Social distancing measures and appropriate PPE are needed to allow Network Rail and supplier staff to continue working to maintain essential rail services during the Coronavirus Pandemic. It is becoming increasingly difficult to secure PPE such as Face Masks and, quite rightly, the NHS is being prioritised. Therefore Network Rail are urgently challenging the industry to propose innovative ways to increase the supply of face masks for situations where they are required by task specific risk assessments.

At this stage companies are being asked to express an interest in participating in this initiative with more information being provided to those who register. It is envisaged that the prime focus will be on:
1. Equivalents to the EN14683 type 1 surgical mask
2. Visors which could be worn with safety helmets
3. Equivalents to respirator type masks would also be welcome
4. Solutions which can be reused/ filters replaced would be particularly welcome.

Expressions of interest should be sent to r&

Please provide an initial outline of what you think you could offer eg manufacturing capability.

Read more


Copper Touch Points

The natural anti-microbial properties of copper are long established. See graph below for longevity of SARS-Cov-2 on potential touch point materials such as copper, stainless steel and plastic. Replacing touch points or key components of medical equipment with copper alloy parts could therefore dramatically reduce transmission rates of Covid-19 and other common hospital acquired infections.  Sylatech is an investment foundry specialising in copper alloys. We are able to rapidly design, produce and deliver high volume, high quality cast copper alloy parts. We are looking for partners in relevant supply chains to rapidly bring touch point products to use in the NHS and beyond. Any interested parties should contact Alex Lord directly:




KTN’s sector teams are experts in navigating the funding landscape. If you need any guidance regarding the opportunities above or you would like help finding other funding opportunities please contact our Manufacturing and Materials teams.